One year ago, I did a post about the major traffic issues around the Oxford Exchange because of a new Christmas attraction in Choccolocco Park. That post got a lot of reactions including this comment from Oxford Police Chief Bill Partridge. He said:
In 2020, the Christmas attraction returned as the “Festival of Lights.” I was hoping the city of Oxford would have planned for the increased traffic around Choccolocco Park and the Oxford Exchange this time around. I mean, they got traffic cameras at the intersections watching the traffic, so you would think they would actually do something to make sure traffic was not severely baking up with hardly any traffic movement.
But instead, for 2020 we got another repeat of the major traffic issues that was even worse than in 2019. To start things off, the US 431 / Leon Smith Parkway intersection at the Wendy’s and Cracker Barrel was a madhouse. Traffic blocking the intersection, cars and 18-wheelers blocking traffic getting the green light, cars squeezing in between stopped cars, and people giving up and getting out of their cars and walking.
At the US 78 intersection with the road that connects to Leon Smith Parkway, cars and 18-wheelers were blocking the intersection. And while I was standing there taking pictures, I saw one Oxford Police officer drive on by without doing anything.
At the Leon Smith Parkway intersection with the Oxford Exchange and Oxford Commons. Cars blocking the intersection, people not being able to go when they get the green light or arrow, and a police officer sitting in a car at the corner of the intersection doing nothing. I did a video talking about this and there are also photos.
One year ago, I got criticized for covering major traffic issues at the Choccolocco Park Christmas attraction. Tonight, still major traffic issues, I'm expecting to be blasted by Oxford once again. pic.twitter.com/hKZMI72U8p
— Nathan Young 🧩❄️ (@nvyoung) December 19, 2020
Speaking of Leon Smith Parkway. Nope, it has not been widened and is still 2-lanes from the Oxford Exchange to Choccolocco Park. So if an emergency vehicle had to get through this, could they?
And the traffic got so bad this year stopped traffic was backing up onto Interstate 20 far from the exit. I spent some time in the Mellow Mushroom parking lot seeing cars and tractor-trailers slam their brakes. This is a mass accident waiting to happen.
Oxford just doesn't care about the major traffic issues at their Choccolocco Park Christmas attraction. It's so bad now stopped traffic is backing up onto Interstate 20. It's also bad enough traffic including 18-wheelers are slamming their brakes to avoid a chain reaction wreck. pic.twitter.com/QUgq7JtLcp
— Nathan Young 🧩❄️ (@nvyoung) December 21, 2020
The crazy thing is yes Oxford has traffic cameras seeing all of this, and nothing has been done to stop all of this traffic madness. It’s a shame really.
So, everyone needs to ask this question. Is Choccolocco Park truly the best place in the area to have this drive-thru Christmas attraction? The answer is NO! Putting a big Christmas attraction like this in the heaviest traffic area in Calhoun County and East Alabama only asks for trouble. Why could a Christmas attraction like this be somewhere else, like Fort McClellan, or Talladega Superspeedway?
You can’t have traffic sitting there with no movement and blocking people from getting onto the Interstate or wanting to go shopping or go out to eat. And it’s only going to get worse as more businesses like that Chipotle and Texas Roadhouse opens. You also can never have stopped traffic on a major cross-country Interstate while traffic is flying by at 70-80 MPH+.
I got criticized by many people pointing out this traffic mess last year, and I’m sure I will get plenty of backlash again this year. The simple thing is, Oxford does a terrible job planning for traffic. You know they have no traffic plans when that new Planet Fitness opens.
Or when that new truck stop off AL-21 opens.
Or when that new go-kart, bowling alley, entertainment complex opens.
Oxford terribly needs to hire someone that can help them plan for traffic issues. And it’s not just Oxford, Anniston does a terrible job planning for traffic and roads as well. They do a terrible job maintaining their traffic signals, and yes signals on state highways are maintained by the cities.
And parts of Noble Street is so bad it’s like hitting a severe speed bump.
And a 5-lane section of Greenbrier Dear Road has it’s road paint lines so faded you can’t tell which lane is which.
The Oxford / Anniston area needs to do a way better job with their roads and traffic planning. And no I will not quit talking about this. And if that means it costs me my job here in this area because I will not keep quiet, oh well.
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